Mudcat Café message #29705 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #5096   Message #29705
Posted By: Joe Offer
30-May-98 - 04:43 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Gaudete (from Steeleye Span)
Subject: RE: Gaudete - Steeleye Span
I'm still looking for a definitive text to this song. The version I've gotten from Steeleye Span sources just ain't right. I did find an interesting tidbit (below), but still no correct text. Has anybody found it yet?
-Joe Offer

> If we're talking about the same thing - the song that was a hit for
> Steeleye Span in the UK in 1973 - then see the *New Oxford Book
> of Carols* for text and commentary. In short, the tune occurs in
> *Piae Cantiones* (1582), but the text is fourteenth-century Bohemian.

>Another interesting point about the Gaudete tune is that it was used in schools in the mid 16th century to illustate the metre of the 11 syllable line found in latin verse. As such the usual text that was set to it was Martial's epigram "Vitam quae faciunt beatiorem" (The things that do attain the happy life) No. 47 from book 10. The melody was well known in schools by the time that *Piae Cantiones* (1582) was written. The tune started appearing with sacred texts also often starting with "Vitam Quae", and aquired an association with the Psalm 127 "Beati omnes qui timent dominum", and appears even in a Lithuanian language setting of that Psalm in "Gesmes Chriksczoniskas ii" (Koenigsberg 1570). There is an informative article in the introduction of a book containing 2 motets by the Riga Cathedral School Cantor Paulus Bucenus Philorodus newly published by Musica Baltica ( in Latvia. One of the motets is a setting of Psalm 127 (Riga 1583) but starting with the words "Vitam quae" set to the Gaudete tune (in all 4 voices). The piece then continues in 6 voices but returns later for more Gaudete in 4 voices. I can send you a copy of this edition if you would care to sent me a 10$ bill by post.(not a cheque as that costs 10$ to cash). Incidentally I would be interested to hear whether you think that the melody in Piae Cantiones is only for a refrain. As far as I know the only evidence for this is that the words for the subsequent verses fit the melody even worse than "Gaudete, gaudete christus natus est" does.

Well, I haven't sent my $10 in yet.
-Joe offer-